“Just a Cleaning, Please”

I am passionate about my career as a dental hygienist.  What other health care professional do you get to spend at least two hours with every year?   So, when I hear people say “I just want a cleaning” I suspect they have no idea all that goes into their 60 minute Continuous Care Dental Appointment.

Thought maybe it’s time to clear up the mystery! If you have any questions about why I do everything I do, please ask– you’re probably not the only one wondering 🙂

Here’s a list of everything I try to get done in our visit: 
Review medical history- update all your medications and changes (they can have an effect on your mouth even if they’re for something totally unrelated), document medications,/research contraindications/discuss with patient
Take and record vital signs: blood pressure, pulse, respiration
30 second pre-procedural antibacterial rinse
Oral cancer screening: head and neck exam, intraoral/soft tissue /oral cancer exam
Take necessary radiographs (x-rays) (yes, they are necessary! Seriously!)
General screening for tooth related problems
Periodontal risk assessment
Detect decay with laser cavity detection
Cavity risk assessment
Evaluate bone levels
Evaluate your bite
Evaluate your  facial muscles
Evaluate existing fillings for breakdown, cracks, clenching, decay
Evaluate for sleep apnea
Evaluate for acid reflux
Evaluate for bad breath
Referrals to specialists
Intraoral photographs of all your teeth and gums
Microscopic evaluation of gum disease pathogens
Record six point periodontal charting documenting pocket depths, recession, bleeding, pus, furcation involvement, and mobility (helping us see if things are getting better or worse)
Disclose teeth to show plaque
Polish teeth
Remove the embedded toxins (tartar and stain) with hand scalers and ultrasonic scalers
Desensitize teeth
Administer topical or local anesthetic
Local delivery of anti-infective or anti microbial products to help kill the bacteria
Nutrition counseling
Remineralize teeth
Floss, even under bridges
De-plaque tongue
Doctor’s examination
Provide any needed post-op instructions
Oral hygiene instructions and assemble needed home health aids
Schedule next appointment
Complete chart entries
Take down room and disinfect and set up clean room
all in 60 fast minutes!

Wow! I’m tired just looking at that list!  Bet you didn’t know all the things going through my head every time I see you!  That’s why I take over 60 hours of continuing education every year. 🙂 

Better late than never does not apply to your dental Appointments.
Lots to do during your dental appointment!

It is a very busy hour and every second counts.  There’s lots of information I need to gather so I can put together a plan for you.  Each treatment plan is customized, individualized and personalized.   Do you have a decay problem, a gum issue, jaw pain, or questions on bleaching???  I need to find out what the problem or question is, and then figure out what we- you and I – need to do to help you achieve health!  Now, I know that some offices are just about getting you in and out and done, but with me it really is not ever “just a cleaning.”  It really is all about your total body health.

Keep Smiling!
Til next time,
Barbara

All my posts are also on Pintrest!
www.pinterest.com/barbaratritz/the-queen-of-dental-hygiene/

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